Equinox Underwater Products, long known for their bright yellow, versatile video housings, are in the digital still market. TJ Mansfield proudly showed me the SEASPY, Equinox’s customizable digital point & shoot camera housing for only $325, and also their new arrival, the SEAPIX 5.0. This compact little camera/housing combo boasts such features as a Sony 5.25 mega-pixel CCD processor, Macro, a rechargeable Li-ion battery, and movie mode to name a few. And just to “wet” your appetite even more, they have an 8 mega-pixel version coming out in January 2006.
I had the absolute pleasure of being a Fisheye employee for the week, and I have to say that Kenji Ohmura was a wonderful boss. It would be hard to find a nicer person, and Fisheye products are definitely top of the line. A newly minted Fisheye expert (and admittedly now a bit biased), I switched into sell mode and showed off six new products to the scores of folks who came by:
1. The new FIX LED48 DX light system. The same body as the FIX LIGHT HG20DX, but with 48 super-bright LED’s and 8 AA batteries. Use it for a focus light, for macro photography, or put a handle on it and use it as a dive light.
2. The Brightstar HID Diving Torch. Light, (as in not heavy) rechargeable Li-ion battery, whoa-mama 21 or 24 watt HID bulb, and your choice of spot or wide-angle beam.
3. The FIX Diving Pocket LED light and optional mounting bracket. This mini aluminum focus light packs a punch, and it’s also handy in a BCD pocket to use as a backup.
4. FIX Rotary Hot-shoe Base – affix this to your hot-shoe on your housing and mount your new FIX LED48 DX – how convenient is that?
5. The UK Light Cannon rechargeable battery set. Is your Cannon weighing you down? Get the lead out! The Fisheye Li-ion battery set includes the lightweight Fisheye Li-ion battery (used in the FIX HG20DX) and charger, plus an adapter to fit it into your UK Light Cannon. Much better…
6. The Seatool Sony DHR-HC1 housing in a Standard and Deluxe version. They did their homework on this one – its lightweight polycarbonate form hugs the camera, making it the smallest HC1 housing out there. The controls are easy to use, and they even installed a mirror for easy viewing of the LCD screen. It’s also customizable if you want to use the bigger battery. Check this one out – even the big guns were coming by to admire this little gem. There are even the faintest whisperings of a 5D housing in the works….maybe soon???
Gates Underwater Housings
Pamela Mazey Mertz at Gates was showing off three new black beauties: The PC II - which houses the Sony PC1000, the Prototype HC1/A1U – for the Sony HDR-HC1 and HVR-A1U, and the FX1/Z1 – for the Sony Handycam HDR-FX1 and HVR-Z1. Another feature was the Squid 50 – a cute but rugged little video light who’s big brother, the Squid 100, might be getting a little jealous. And coming up…..housings for the Panasonic HGVX200 and the Canon XCEL HD.
Ikelite – my own personal investment plan – is always a treat. David Haas, Roger Carlson…all those guys are a lot of fun. The commotion this year is all about the DS-80, Ikelite’s new digital strobe that is midway between the DS-50 and the DS-125. Looks good to me – manual and TTL, Pre & Non-preflash settings, LED modeling light, built-in diffuser, 4 AA batteries, and LED screen…should I go on? Can’t wait to see the final version. Also on the menu is Ikelite’s new 8” dome – made by them, for them. Look for that in November. And last we have their latest version of the Canon G6 housing – now new and improved with TTL! What about the 5D, you ask? Well, (pause for effect) let’s just say it’s coming soon….
Inon was showcasing two items this year, a prototype X-2 housing for the Canon 20D (looks nice), and their new D-2000W strobe. Steve Philbrook showed me that the difference between the D-2000W and the earlier version of the same strobe is the addition of a 5-pin sync connector for DLSR and film cameras...gotta love it! The X-2 prototype is still just that…and there is no expected release date as of yet. However, to note, this housing has a magnetic manual focus ring – a verrry nice feature.